Florida Legislature Rejects Medicaid Expansion, Adjourns Without Vote
The Florida state legislature adjourned on Friday without a vote on Medicaid expansion that would extend healthcare to 1 million Floridians.
The Florida state Senate and House were unable to resolve their differences on two proposals that would extend Medicaid coverage. One version, passed by the state House, would use $237 million in state funds to expand Medicaid to approximately 115,000 Floridians and would reject funding from the federal government. The second would accept $50 billion of federal funding to provide Medicaid to 1.1 million Floridians, and has support from both the Obama administration and Republican Governor Rick Scott. However, without a decision reached on either bill before the end of the session, Florida will not see any Medicaid expansion in 2014.
Democrats in the state are calling for a special session in order to come to a decision on the plans. It is unsure if the Republicans, which hold a majority in the legislature, will allow that to happen. Governor Scott could also force lawmakers to have a special session.
Florida has one of the highest rates on uninsured residents, with an average of one in five people without insurance.
Media Resources: Washington Post 5/5/2013; Tampa Bay Times 5/4/2013; Feminist Newswire 4/30/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .